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Commission race to be decided by canvass

May 16, 2002|BY SARAH MULLIN

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Unofficially, Republican candidate Steve Teufel won his party's nomination during the primary election for Berkeley County Commission against James L. Edwards by a mere six votes.

Officially, county election officials will canvass the votes Friday to get a better look at the final total. If the canvassing doesn't resolve the issue, a recount is possible.

"I haven't given it (a recount) much thought," said Edwards, 70, of 627 Hammond Mill Road, Hedgesville, W.Va.

According to complete, but unofficial results, Teufel received 1,210 votes, while Edwards got 1,204. Bill Alexander was third with 1,099.

On the Democratic side, Butch Pennington, a Martinsburg businessman, won his party's nomination, defeating Patricia Washington 2,285 votes to 1,493.

"It's too close, (but) I feel great," said Teufel, 42, of 802 Honeysuckle Drive, Martinsburg, on election night.

Edwards said he is going to wait and see what happens after Friday's canvass.

The ballots will be recounted by the voting tabulator and three precincts, chosen at random, will be counted by hand to ensure the accuracy of the tabulator, said Howard Strauss, president of the county commission.

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Absentee ballots postmarked up to May 14 that have not been received by the county also will be included in the final count, he said.

Edwards said a friend called him up late Tuesday night and said, "Jim, you won, you won."

On Wednesday morning, he found out different.

"Win or lose, you have to be as gracious a winner as a loser," Edwards said.

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